What to Do When Your Home Pipes Freeze

Category: Water Damage Restoration

Baby, it’s cold outside and you want to jump back into that nice warm bed. Before you do, you go to wash your face.

What? No water?

Uh-oh. Now what?

This may be the first sign of a frozen pipe, and you’ll be happy you know this. Believe me.

When water flow is reduced to little or no flow from a plumbing fixture, there are immediate actions you need to take. Relax, though, you probably don’t need a plumber. That could cost you a lot of money because this can be a very time-consuming process.

If the water won’t run at all, turn off the Main water valve. Then go back and turn the faucets on. They don’t need to be on full blast, but make sure that if they are that the drain can handle the flow.

What you should never do is:

  • Use an open flame in an attempt to thaw the pipe. HUGE no no. In case you’re wondering why, it is possible that this could cause the pipe to burst, or you might inadvertently start something on fire. Don’t laugh. It happens.
  • Apply an electric heater or hair dryer directly to the pipe. If water leaks, it could cause electrocution.

When it’s time to turn the water on, you will need two people for best results. You’ll know because the faucets will start running. It’s best to eat in during a time like this, of course. Ideally, the two of you will be within shouting distance of one another, but cell phones work well, too. One person will turn the water back on very slowly.

The second person will go about checking to make sure that all the faucets are running properly and then turn them off. Depending on how large your home is, it may be good to have a checklist for this. Stranger things have happened than forgetting to turn off the water!

During this entire time, you are going to want to make careful notes about where the freeze occurred. This is because you will want to take steps to ensure it won’t happen again. You will also want to check the pipe to make sure it is still in good state. This may not be something you’re comfortable doing, so this is a good time to consider calling a professional or a well-seasoned relative who can tell you if the pipe might be at risk for bursting if it were to freeze again.

Once you’ve gotten through this, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You’re not done yet, though.

If you are thinking of leaving your home during the winter, you’ll want to be sure to leave the heat on at least at 60°F. It is a good idea to understand what type of heating system you have. Ask your HVAC professional what their recommendations are and take note.

We also recommend turning off your Main water valve and having a friend or neighbor stop by on days when temperatures are low enough to cause concern when you are out of town. Doing this will give you greater peace of mind while you are away that your home investment is protected.

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